Wednesday, June 15, 2005


You’ll remember we sent a letter to our buyers, trying to open up lines of communication and clear up misunderstandings? We wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. It was a friendly-worded letter to reassure them that we were not continuing to have viewers round. We sent it a week last Saturday, and put R’s email address on it.
Now, what would you do if you received a letter like that? Would you reply to say thanks for clearing up the misunderstanding, and for giving you the reassurance you needed? Of course you would. What do you think they did? They didn’t reply. Meanwhile, they still hadn’t had their meeting to arrange their mortgage, scheduled for the Saturday just gone.
Then something interesting happened. We got home last Tuesday to find a note on the doormat.
“Hello. We hope this doesn’t seem too cheeky. We are the couple with a baby who viewed your house in Oct 04…” Immediately I remembered them. They were the first people to view our house and they loved it. They scrambled into every nook and cranny, and then stood sadly on the doorstep asking if we thought it would sell quickly.
So we read on. “We have sold our property and wanted to make on offer on yours. We were very disappointed to hear that yours had sold. If anything should go wrong with your sale, please feel free to contact either of us.” Both mobile numbers were listed at the bottom.
I felt so disappointed. I remember liking these people, and also saying to R “I bet we end up selling it to them in the end.” I had a feeling about them. It seemed so cruel that they should be just too late. But we are decent people; we couldn’t pull out of a sale – could we? We left them a message saying we had to progress with our sale, but would have loved to sell it to them, and would call them if anything happened.
I phoned my Mum, and told her how disappointed I was. Then, on Wednesday evening, I got a call from my Dad.
“Don’t just let this one go,” he said. “Find out the facts. What’s their situation?”
“But we can’t. We sent our buyers a letter …”
“If I was a negotiator,” said Dad firmly, “I would have been delighted to receive that letter. I’d think ‘They’re panicking’ and I certainly wouldn’t answer it straight away.”
Given that we had received no reply, this struck a chill into my heart.
So, I phoned the other couple. Their situation is a good one. First time buyer, very keen, sale progressing swiftly, and mortgage arranged. So I invited them round. They came round on Thursday night. It was painfully obvious how desperately they wanted the house. They love it. They appreciate all the right things about it.
So, we talked money. They can offer us more. We told them the bare bones of the situation with our buyer i.e. they still, at that point, had not even had their meeting to arrange a mortgage. We had time.
Friday morning I phoned the estate agent and asked to speak to one of the partners. Only one of them was in, and he had a diary full after 10am. So we raced to see them, my still-wet hair streaming behind me. He was great. Agreed to phone them, check out their situation, and get back to us.
Which they did. All was well. So we took a risk (they are, after all, in a chain which the others are not) and accepted their offer. This meant we could pull right out of the other one before they had spent a dime. The estate agent had suggested alternatives like ‘survey race’ or ‘contract race’ but I couldn’t do that to any of the parties involved.
You may not agree with us, but I know we did the right thing. I know these people are meant to live here.


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